Dear Nemo

Dear Nemo:

For some reason having to do with higher mathematics, LinkedIn keeps telling me that you are looking for “a multidisciplinary Brand Design Director with experience in the active lifestyle /outdoor category,” and that I should be very interested in this opportunity. I’m sure you will agree that I am perfect for it.

First, let me laud your use of the term, “multidisciplinary,” which means that the subject at hand crosses the boundaries of large bodies of knowledge, or disciplines. Clearly, Linked-In understands my quest for a multidisciplinary brand design position in which I can use my grounding in theoretical physics, my PhD in Medieval Art, my Certificate in Cockatoo Rearing, and my hard-won cookie decorating skills. So few appreciate these skills the way you obviously will. However, I must warn you that I have absolutely no experience in the "active lifestyle/outdoor category," could give a hoot about today's engineered techno fabrics, detest the thought of hiking or backpacking and think that "roughing it" is staying in any hotel that is less attractive than my house.

You hope that my “proficiency extends to brand foundation and strategy.” In my years on the Western plains, I extended much iron and sizzled many cow flanks, and was always able to convince those cows to go down the chute, using my strategic cow-prompting skills. My proficiency in these skills is recognized. Microsoft hired me on this proficiency alone.

You ask that the successful candidate be able to “engage” clients. I have engaged clients in the past. Few realize that I lettered in Fencing until it is too late.

Funny you should mention it--I do get clients excited about how design adds value and solves problems! By the end of my enthralling presentations, they’re usually jumping up and down and bellowing, “Give me great value-adding problem-solving design now!” or some such similar vocalization. Currently, I am heightening their excitement by showing them Sagmeister’s latest value-adding, problem-solving postcard, in which he appears nude along with a Photoshopped woman who may be his new business partner or who may just have been a convenient naked woman standing on some magazines nearby. Problem solving? Yes. Value-adding? Not so much. The poor man is exhibiting signs of scoliosis.

But back to me. You hope I’m “versed in translating insights and strategy across all media”, by which I think you’re asking, “Can you say the same stuff in different ways?” As luck would have it, I am expert at aligning social networks, UX, interactive, print, smoke signals, town-to-town drum networks, church prayer-chains and mobile platforms. When it comes to “creating identity systems and crafting guidelines to implement the creative vision,” I craft with the best of them. However, my implements for crafting creative vision guidelines cost a fortune, materials having gone up so much with the price of oil, so I have been cutting back on creating and crafting guidelines and now just tell people what to do.

In short, I do live in the zone you mention, “the zone where brand insights, business strategy, and visual storytelling meet.” Entre-nous, it’s a heck of a pile-up. Especially when people use a lot of words that don't mean anything.

Yes, as you ask, I do play well with others, as long as they don’t pollute my cubicle with microwave popcorn smell. Yes, I can mentor a team, though “to mentor” is not actually a verb and I am about as fond of it as “to Otherize.” Yes, I have “interaction design chops.” My favorite chop being the employment of various young “interaction designers” with whom I play well, and whom I mentor.

You say I need to understand that yours is a hands-on design position, and that I should be prepared to work. To this admonishment I respond: I am prepared to work if you are prepared to abandon every worn-out design-talk cliché you use in your advertisement, and to communicate with a clarity that will rocket your client out of the haze and into the ether. I'll be waiting by the mailbox for a contract from you.

Best wishes,

Natalia Ilyin